Thursday, October 24, 2019

Alcest : "Spiritual Instinct"

I am not sure what I want from this album. Black metal or shoe-gaze. They go for black metal. They were never the most cvlt band on the planet and they do not try to use black metal as more than just a flourish. There is a much more metallic sense to what they are doing now. The sung vocals give it more of a folk metal feel. It is not what I expected , but I will take it. Harsher vocals do surface. They are not the dominate force. "Protection" is more straight forward, but still really well written .  The harsher vocals play a larger role in this song than the opener. I am fine with them letting up on the metal guitar sound for "Sapphire" . It still has drive and I am not expecting these guys to hit me like Nails. The change of guitar tone is more original .

In the last 3 minutes of " L'ile de morts" there is some sonic experimentation but over all the song is more straight forward working well with in the band's more middle of the road wheel house, not plunging into black metal , but not shoe gazing away either. In fact there is very little I would consider shoe gaze at all on this album. In some ways this album is darker. I know it is heavier so that factors in. "Le miroir" is a shade more introspective. While the last song is the only piece that involves anything with the kind of sonic spectrum of shoe gaze there is a great deal of atmosphere to this album. Even though it is heavier I would not call this a black metal album.  There is more tension, it builds like a coming storm.

The title track closes the album.  It does not use as much tension and goes for it when they hit what is the verse. The vocals are more androgynous here. It is more sonically heavy than it is metal, which wins in my book.  I will give this album a 9.5, it;s a vast improvement for them as a band. I think they find a perfect balance and avoided the Deafheaven bandwagon all together. More accessible to fans of mainstream heavy metal, but I do not think this is really going to expand their fan base, but who cares it is a great album. '

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